STONEWALL: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution

David Carter, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-20025-1

While the centerpiece here is undoubtedly his hour-by-hour relating of the explosive June 1969 riots, Carter, an editor of Allen Ginsberg's interviews (Spontaneous Mind , 20o1), also provides an extended prelude that highlights the places, activists and others who come to play key roles. Carter's beloved Greenwich Village and what he calls its "queer geography," which enabled gay culture to form, flourish and consolidate itself, emerges as an inimitable, finely detailed hero. But for Carter, the most audacious, energetic and enterprising of riot participants were the drag queens, homeless queer youths and other gender transgressors whose position on the farthest margins of society enabled their radical response to oppression. What they and others managed to do, Carter renders with fresh care and enthusiasm, getting new quotes and offering unfamiliar perspectives, such as the Mafia's role both as a patron of the gay scene in New York City (including the Stonewall Inn, which it owned and operated) and as a blackmailer of famous homosexuals. He ends appropriately with the emergence of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activist Alliance, as well as the first gay pride parade, held in June 1970. While it may distract readers interested only in the story of gay liberation, Carter's logistical history of what gay author Edmund White called "our Bastille Day" will become a permanent addition to the great histories of the civil rights era. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/31/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-312-67193-8
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-312-34269-2
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